This New York-based Crypto Sleuthing Startup is Eyeing Asia-Pacific Expansion

With fresh funding from Japan's biggest bank, Chainalysis is emerging as a leading provider of cryptocurrency compliance solutions

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As the cryptocurrency market has matured, so have suspicious activities related to it. To fight these illicit activities, Chainalysis works like a crypto detective with law enforcement agencies, regulators, and businesses.

Founded in 2014, the New York-based startup leverages deep analytics and machine learning while maintaining data privacy to help several organizations. The company also provides financial institutions and cryptocurrency businesses with insights to help assess and enhance their controls as necessary.

It is now planning to grow in the Asia Pacific region. The company has announced raising an additional US $6 million to close its $36 million Series B round with a strategic investment from Japan's largest financial institution, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. (MUFG), via its wholly owned corporate venture capital, MUFG Innovation Partners Co., Ltd. (MUIP).

New Start  

The Chainalysis investment is MUIP’s first investment outside of Japan and second since its January 2019 launch by MUFG.

With the fresh funding, Chainalysis plans to expand its business in Asia-Pacific and to open an office in the region.

While the development and adoption of blockchains and corresponding decentralized financial systems have been growing, infrastructure and regulatory compliance frameworks are needed to ensure and build trust among all stakeholders.

“Chainalysis’s compliance technology is important to providing the insight and anti-money laundering controls banks need in order to establish next-generation compliance frameworks,” says Nobutake Suzuki, MUFG Innovation Partners’ President and chief executive officer.

The MUFG says the investment shows its effort to grow the cryptocurrency industry in Japan and Asia-Pacific “more soundly and broadly”.

Future Plans

The funding round also saw participation from Sozo Ventures, the global expansion venture capital firm based in Tokyo and Redwood City, California. This investment follows a $30 million raise from Accel and Benchmark in February. The startup had raised $16 million in Series A investment from Benchmark Capital in April last year. It had then launched a cryptocurrency compliance tool, Chainalysis KYT (“know your transaction”), which it says provides transaction analysis in real time. The same year, in October, Chainalysis completed a global roll-out of its compliance solution with Binance, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange by trade volume, to help address the challenges at the intersection of cryptocurrencies, regulators and traditional financial institutions.

“Cryptocurrency technology is global and inclusive by design,” says Michael Gronager, chief executive, Chainalysis, in a press release. “Our business was founded on the belief that in order for the industry to grow, all its stakeholders – governments, financial institutions, and cryptocurrency businesses – must be united in establishing ground truth for the industry. This strategic investment will strengthen our relationships with financial institutions in Asia in particular, and spearhead both our growth and the industry's advancement in an important region.”

With the growth of cryptocurrency in Asia Pacific (APAC), Chainalysis too has grown substantially in the region. In the past year, the company more than doubled the number of clients it serves in APAC and increased its contracted revenue from clients there by more than 16x.

"Chainalysis is building foundational technology for the future of cryptocurrency and providing data-driven insights to help the industry understand how these networks behave," says Phil Wickham of Sozo Ventures. "Chainalysis has already established itself as the industry standard for investigations and compliance, and we look forward to leveraging our fintech and blockchain expertise to support Chainalysis to grow in the region."

Pooja Singh

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A stickler for details, Pooja Singh likes telling people stories. She has previously worked with Mint-Hindustan Times, Down To Earth and Asian News International-Reuters.